חשיפה: הישראלי רועי שפושניק, המעורב באירועים האחרונים בחצר המלוכה בירדן, הוא סייען של המוסד
حصري: الاسرائيلي روعي شابوشنيك، الضالع في الأحداث الأخيرة في البلاط الملكي الإردني، متعاون مع الموساد
An Israeli Mossad asset aided Jordan’s ex-crown prince, Hamzah bin Hussein, in a plot to overthrow King Abdullah. Roy Shaposhnik is not an ex-Mossad agent, as Jordan claimed. It said that the Israeli offered to supply a plane to the Jordanian’s family to escape the country after the plot was exposed. Instead, Shaposhnik is, according to a well-informed Israeli source, what’s known as a sayan, an Israeli living abroad who performs various crucial tasks overseas for agents who cannot perform them themselves for legal, or other reasons.
Shaposhnik owns a security consulting firm whose website describes its mission:
GMSS offers a full spectrum of cost-effective services in the areas of Life & Mission Support, Risk Management, Intelligence, Logistics, and Supply Chain Management. GMSS closely supports our clients’ operations and personnel in optimizing their resources and mission outcomes. Our operations span the globe with considerable focus on Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. We apply our knowledge and expertise to provide complex risk management and operational support services to support client operations in often austere environments. GMSS provides specialized support to the U.S. Government, foreign Governments, and commercial organizations worldwide.
GMSS has been associated with Erik Prince, who himself has been associated with some exceedingly sketchy projects in the region designed to bring him immense riches. Working with one of Prince’s companies, Olive Group, Shaposhnik participated in a project to build Iraq’s first toll highway. He also helped train Iraqi troops. It was during that project he met Prince Hamzah.
Unconfirmed rumors have bruited the involvement of Saudi Arabia and UAE in the plot as well. Relations between Jordan, and the Gulf states and Israel have been tortured of late. Amidst the normalization announced a few months ago under the rubric of the Abraham Accords, the Saudis and Israelis proposed that the former could either supplant Jordan’s role as custodian of Jerusalem Muslim holy places, or perform them jointly.
Given that Jerusalem is the third holiest site in Islam, such a plan would have been received as a slap in the face by Jordan. Recently, Israeli PM Netanyahu was scheduled to make his first visit to UAE to meet its leader, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The trip was canceled at the last minute when King Abdullah refused Israel permission to fly over Jordanian airspace.
In typical petulant tit-for-tat fashion, Netanyahu refused to release water requested under an emergency provision by Jordan.
A few years ago, a Shin Bet agent serving as security for the Israeli embassy in Amman, murdered a Jordanian in his apartment. In the aftermath, Jordan expelled the Israeli ambassador and, when the Shin Bet agent was finally released, he received a hero’s welcome in Israel. Naturally, Jordanians were disgusted and angry at this louche behavior.
Given that Shaposhnik’s actions could have seriously damaged Israeli relations with Jordan, I assumed he would be under close supervision by Israeli intelligence. My source told me that activities of sayanim are not necessarily monitored.
However, since he is a Mossad asset, either it knew what he was doing and approved it, either tacitly or explicitly; or it didn’t know about his involvement in the plot. That too is deeply troubling, as it means that Shaposhnik was no longer under the direction of the Mossad, but was rather freelancing and pursuing his own personal interests.
Shaposhnik himself claims, rather disingenuously, that he was simply trying to help a good friend in distress. This beggars belief not merely because Israel does not do favors out of the goodness of its heart, but also because Shaposhnik is, or should be, intelligent enough to realize that participating in any way, even tangentially, in a coup plot against a country with whom Israel has friendly relations, would provoke a hornet’s nest of controversy.
The annals of Israeli intelligence are full of such swashbuckling figures like Rafi Eitan, who ran Jonathan Pollard and Mike Harari, Manuel Noriega’s special friend. So it is possible that Shaposhnik was pursuing a personal agenda in helping the Jordanian.
But it is equally possible he was acting as a “cut-out” for the Mossad, Supplying Hamza with intelligence, logistical assistance and financing to aid the plot. The Israelis and Saudis may have sought a more pliable leader than Abdullah. One who would do their bidding, notably in taking a more hands-off approach to the Palestinians.
Though Jordan sees itself as the protector of Palestinian interests, it usually honors them only in the breach or under duress But even this level of interference in Palestinian affairs may anger Netanyahu, who would like to be rid of the Palestinian problem once and for all. Trump’s Deal of the Century offered the Israeli leader the nearest opportunity he’s ever had to achieve Israel’s goals of eradicating the possibility for a Palestinian state. He and Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had coordinated a plan to pressure Mahmoud Abbas into submission through a combination of tens of billions in bribes and threats. The one wild card they could not control was Jordan. And while Abdullah did not denounce these machinations, he did not endorse them either. The prospect of installing a new Jordanian leader who would endorse such efforts may have been a prospect too enticing to pass up.
If Israel was part of this plot it would have been exceedingly reckless on its part. Jordan has the best intelligence agency in the Arab world. It would certainly have detected this plot (as it did) before it came to fruition. Once Israel’s role came out it would cause even greater distrust and enmity than already exists. And if Israel is not involved, it will have to convincingly deny it; something it has not attempted to do, even unconvincingly, thus far.